The Few, the Bold, the Brave: Get to Know the ’19s Who Touched the Fire

By Julia Vallone | 10/20/15 4:00am

You asked for it and the Class of 2019 delivered. After weeks of cajoling, sweet-talking and threatening (*cough* YikYak *cough*), we sent 12 brave souls into the depths of the flames (and one unfortunate ’19, Bryan B, into the arms of HPo) thus creating the next generation of Dartmouth legends. Over the past week I spent some time talking to seven of this delinquent bunch, discussing everything from their thought process to their choice of footwear. Here are the highlights of our discussions.
(Note: All of the fiery fire-touchers chose to protect their anonymity via self-selected pseudonyms. Except poor Bryan. Bryan didn’t get a pseudonym, just a $1000 fine. If you are feeling merciful, visit his GoFundMe here.)

Julia Vallone: Who or what made you decide to touch the fire?

The Lituation: “I just thought it would be super fun and I have wanted to do it since day one, so I did it.”

Da Runner: “I originally went into Homecoming thinking that I wouldn’t touch the fire, but when I got there I was feeling pretty good. I saw this humongous towering inferno in the middle and it was a total now or never moment.”

Soap: “I gave a lot of thought into it beforehand, and ultimately I decided not to touch it... But then at Homecoming I took a break from my laps. I was just standing at the side looking at [the fire] and all of the sudden two people ran in front of me. The HPo officers in my area were distracted and in the heat of the moment I decided to go for it.”

Firelord: “Honestly I wasn’t planning on touching it, but I got called out on YikYak so I was socially obligated to do it. I didn’t have a choice.”

Short Shorts: “There was a ’17 named Robert who encouraged me to do it a while ago… But also when I was running the spirit just overcame me… [Firelord] helped convince me too.”

Drake Bell: “I had been drinking, and I am a very easily persuaded drunk. One of my senior friends said, ‘Go touch the fire’ and I said ‘Oh, maybe.’ Then one of my freshmen friends said, ‘Go touch the fire’ and I said ‘Oh, okay.’”

Bryan B.:“I definitely decided myself to touch the fire… I was influenced by the hype honestly. It was a symbol of taking action and not letting anything limit me.”

JV: What was your mentality going in for the kill?

The Lituation: “Honestly, I was like, it’s okay if I get arrested. I was the only girl going in my group, so I figured the guys would bail me out.”

Da Runner: “I was actually quoted right before taking off as saying ‘No fear, nothing to lose’… I was really hammered so I was definitely in the zone. The adrenaline was ridiculous.”

Soap: “As soon as I crossed the line I just thought to myself ‘Just finish strong, dummy.’ My first focus was touching the fire and once I got it my mind shifted to ‘Ok, now get the f--k out.’ And I just Forrest Gump-ed it.”

Firelord: “I was trying to be pragmatic about it. I waited until the time was right, and then I committed.”

Short Shorts: “Run really fast. Get as close as you can to the fire and go for the hot part, the part where people can see you. And then dash.”

Bryan B.: “I was hesitating the entire night until one of my friends said that he would do it with me. At that point I thought that I should go for it… He backed out at the last minute, but I went for it anyway.”

JV: How did you deal with security?

The Lituation: “I didn’t end up having to deal with security, which is surprising because I’m really slow. I think at one point they turned towards me, but then they noticed I was a girl and they walked the other way instead.”

Firelord: “I didn’t even have to deal with security. It was really easy. There was a pretty fat gap so I ran through to the other side of the fire and escaped while they had their backs turned.”

Short Shorts: “[Firelord] and I were the first to go through, so I think the security was pretty dazed. I saw one of them twitch but that was it. The crowd helps you too… They raised the rope and hid us. They took our clothes — in a not weird way — to help disguise us. It was great.”

Drake Bell: “They are not very fast. I ran in a straight line at a moderate pace and I was golden.”

Bryan B.: “Pretty poorly it seems. (Laughs) My timing was bad and since I didn’t have anyone going with me I got all of the attention. I had multiple guys sprint at me. Who knows why, but it is what it is.”

JV: Describe how you felt afterwards in three words.

The Lituation: “Hot. Happy. Anticlimactic.”

Soap: “Tired. Proud. Disbelieving.”

Short Shorts: “Exhilarating. Pumped. Accomplished.”

Bryan B.: “Disappointed. Relieved. Thrilled. Nervous. All at the same time.”
(Author’s Note: Yes, this is more than three words. But the kid is facing a $1000 fine, so we cut him some slack.)

JV: If you could relate your experience to one song or rap lyric, what would it be?

Da Runner: “Started from the bottom now we here.”

Soap: “You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.”

Short Shorts: “I’m on fire. Fireball.”

Bryan B.: “You better lose yourself in the moment.”

Julia Vallone